Joel Osteen - Underestimated
I want to talk to you today about UNDERESTIMATED. We all face times when what we're up against is too big for us: the dream too great, problem too strong, the opposition too powerful. People will rule us out think, "It's never going to happen, you don't have the resources, you don't come from the right family, the medical report is not good". All the facts say "It's impossible", but God on purpose will have you underestimated. When it seems the least likely, that's when he shows up the greatest. Don't get discouraged when you're underestimated, it's a setup. God put you in that position to show himself strong. When you defy the odds, everyone will know his favor is on your life.
But when you're outnumbered, out-sized, out-trained, out-educated, don't be surprised if people discount you, tell you "You're not talented enough, tall enough, strong enough, experienced enough". That all may be true, but what they can't see is what God put in you. They're just looking on the outside, from a natural perspective, but you have something on the inside, the seed of Almighty God. It will take you where you can't go on your own. But sometimes doubt will whisper, "You don't have what it takes. How could you accomplish that dream? Where are you going to get the funds? How can you leave your family better off? You're barely making it each week. How can you get that promotion? Your co-workers more qualified, they have more training". Deep down you can't explain it, something tells you, "You can do it. You were created for this", you know it's going to happen.
People look at you and think just the opposite. You're exactly where you're supposed to be. God uses underestimated people. When you're looked down on, told it's not going to happen, get ready, God is about to show out in your life. It's going to be uncommon. People are going to be scratching their heads: how did he become that successful? Do you know what neighborhood he was raised in? How did she marry that man, I don't see it? How did she defeat the cancer, did you see with the report? How did he become the pastor of Lakewood, he didn't have the training? God loves to take underestimated people and do something awesome. The reason he puts you in situations that are too big, too strong, too much, it's not to defeat you, but to establish you. When God turns it around, when you discover the greatness inside, when you step up and defy the odds, people will see you in a whole new light. That's moving you towards your God-given purpose.
When you're tempted to feel overwhelmed, outnumbered, not enough, instead of giving up have a new perspective: I'm underestimated, and that's okay. I know God is up to something. I know favor is coming. I know new doors are about to open. I know healing is on the way. God is going to defy the odds, and do what only he can do. Don't be discouraged when you're underestimated, embrace being underestimated. God loves to take the underdog, and cause them to shine. When people don't believe in you, they're discounting you, writing your off, all the facts say, "It's never going to happen", you're in perfect position for God to surprise you. That's when he'll show up and do things that catapult you into your destiny.
Think about David. He had a history of being underestimated. He was out in the shepherds fields, teenager, taking care of his father's sheep. His brothers were in the army, they had a prestigious position, but David was the youngest, the smallest, he was discounted, sort of seen as the runt of the litter. When the prophet Samuel came to his house to anoint one of his father's sons as the next king of Israel, his father Jesse didn't call him in from the shepherds fields. He thought, "There's no way it's David. He doesn't have the size, the strength, the talent. These other sons are bigger, stronger, more experienced". He saw David as less than, not good enough, he doesn't have a chance. Yet, when Samuel looked at the other sons, he said "It's not any of these". What's significant is the oldest son Eliab was tall, strong, muscular, attractive, he looked like a king, he was a perfect choice. But God loves to choose the underdog, the least likely, the ones others write off.
Jesse told Samuel, "I have another son out in the shepherds fields, but I'm sure it's not him". David came in, Samuel said, "That's the one". I can imagine Jesse nearly passed out. Samuel said in effect, "Jesse, you look on the outside, but God looks on the inside. You're judging by appearance, height, stature, but God looks at the heart". David was anointed to be king, but he didn't go to the palace, he went back to the shepherds fields. One day his father asked him to take lunch to his brothers, who were serving in the army in another city. When he arrived, instead of thanking him, his oldest brother made fun of him. In front of all the men he said, "What are you doing here, David? And what did you do with those few sheep you're supposed to be taken care of"? He belittled him, discounted him, tried to make him feel small.
He didn't think David would do anything significant. Like David's father, he saw him as not up to par, just a young boy. Think about how easily David could have felt inadequate, inferior, been talked out of what God put in his heart. So important that you don't let how other people treat you determine your value. Don't let what they say determine your self-worth. They may not believe in you, they may see you as less than, they may say things that try to push you down, discount you. Don't let those lies take root, live inferior, insecure, not pursue your dreams. You have to do like David: let it go in one ear and out the other. They're underestimating you, but you know this principle: God uses underestimated people. It's a setup. He's about to show out in your life.
As David was about to return home, Goliath, the champion of the Philistine army came out on the mountainside and started taunting the Israelites, shouting insults, daring them to come fight. All the Israelite men, they ran and hide, they were afraid. But something rose up in David. He said: who is this man that he would defy the armies of the living God? Didn't make sense to his mind, but he had this passion, this knowing that he was going to take care of Goliath. He went to king Saul, and told him that he wanted to fight Goliath. You would think that Saul would be happy, none of his soldiers had the courage, they were all terrified day after day, they shrunk back, finally someone stepped up. But when king Saul saw how small David was, he said in verse 33, "David, don't be ridiculous, you're just a boy. He's the champion of their army. He's incredibly skilled, strong and powerful".
You can imagine how David felt. He had all this passion, this enthusiasm, he knew God called him to do something great, but nobody believed in him. His father, his brothers, king Saul - they all discounted him, tried to talk him out of it. But David understood this principle: I'm underestimated, and that's okay. Doesn't hurt my feelings, I'm not offended, they can't see what's in me. The odds may be against me, but I know God uses underestimated people. This is setting me up for a new level of my destiny.
David got his courage up, went out to face Goliath. When Goliath saw how small David, was he began to make fun of David, ridicule him. He said, "Am I a dog that you'd come at me with a stick"? He was saying: "Is this the best you have? This teenager, this young boy, he doesn't have the training, the size, the experience, he's not even worth my time". Look at how many opportunities David had to get discouraged, feel inadequate, unqualified: his father, his brothers, king Saul, now even Goliath are all trying to reinforce these lies, "David, you're not enough. You can't do this. It's too big".
To reach your destiny you have to tune out all the naysayers, the intimidations, the can't-do-it thoughts. You have to know on purpose God is causing you to be underestimated. People not believing in you, discounting you, feeling like you're way over your head. That's a sign that you're right where you're supposed to be. God is positioning you to do something that you've never seen, to defy the odds, to go where no one in your family has gone, to break generational curses, to bring down giants, to set new standards. Don't get discouraged when people don't believe in you, try to talk you out of it. It's good to be underestimated. That means God is about to catapult you to new levels.
Goliath stood nine feet tall. He was not only huge, muscular and powerful, but he was skilled in battle, smart, experienced, agile. You would think God would find the biggest Israeli soldier, the tallest, strongest, most skilled man to take on Goliath. He's God, he could have chosen anyone. He could have caused an Israeli man to be nine feet tall, stand eye-to-eye with Goliath. That makes more sense. But what did God do, he chose David. Some commentaries say David was less than five feet tall - my brother Paul's height. He was very short, not even... I'm just kidding y'all... Not even average... I shouldn't make fun of him when he's in Africa... But he's not even an average height. Goliath was nine feet tall. That means he was almost twice David's size.
God was showing us this principle: he uses underestimated people. You may be in a situation where what you're up against seems impossible, there are giants in your life, in your finances, it doesn't look like you'll ever get ahead. The medical report's not good, maybe a child's off course, you're still believing to meet someone, nothing's working out. You're right where David was. Thoughts will tell you, "There's no chance. It's too big, too complicated, you might as well turn around, quit believing". No, don't believe those lies. God let the odds be against you on purpose. He's let you be underestimated, so when he turns it around, when you defy the odds and defeat that giant, you come out promoted, healthy, happy, married, victorious, nobody will doubt: the Most High God is on your side.
Goliath was standing there in a full set of armor. He had a sword, a shield, the best protection, the latest equipment. David had no armor, no helmet, no protection, all he had was a slingshot and a few stones. And when he looked at Goliath, fully decked in all of his armor, he thought about how he had nothing but a slingshot, he could have been intimidated, afraid, "Maybe this isn't a good idea". But he knew that slingshot with the favor of God was more powerful than having the best equipment. It's not so much what you have, it's what do you think about what you have. If you're discounting your talent, discounting your height, discounting your ability, your nationality, your education, "All I have is this slingshot, I just went to high school, my family's ordinary", you're going to miss the greatness God put in you.
You don't need great talent to do something great. You don't have to have great resources to leave your mark. You don't have to come from an influential family to make a big difference. But if you live thinking, "If I just had something better, better than this slingshot, if I just had more talent, more education, more personality, more courage", that's going to limit you. Here's the key: you have exactly what you need to fulfill your destiny. May seem like it's just a slingshot, but that slingshot with the favor of God will take you from the shepherds fields to the palace. It will cause a teenager with no training to defeat the most skilled warrior of that day. Don't discount what you have: if you needed more God would have given you more.
Many times it's not other people underestimating us, we're underestimating who we are. It's not the Goliath holding us back, it's the lies we're buying into. "I'm too small, too old, too shy, too clumsy, not strong enough, not wearing any armor. All I have is this slingshot". Can I tell you? That slingshot, what you have in your hand is the ticket to the next level of your destiny. Don't discount what you have, God will take the little, he'll take what seems like not enough and breathe on it, and it will become more than enough. My question is: what do you think about what you have? Are you discounting what God has given you? I don't say this arrogantly, but I realize: I have the talent I need, I have the courage I need, I have the skills, I need I have the height, the looks, the friends, the favor that I need. Don't go through life thinking you're at a disadvantage, you're lacking. You have everything you need. People may underestimate you, that's a part of God's plan, but don't underestimate yourself, don't discount yourself, don't talk yourself out of the greatness God put in you.
"Joel, all I have is this slingshot". All you need is a slingshot. You'll be amazed at where you can go with a little talent, little courage, a little faith, a little determination. This is where the Israelites missed it. Ten men went in to spy on the Promised Land. They came back intimidated, afraid. They said, "Moses, the people are too big, we don't have a chance, we felt like grasshoppers compared to them". They didn't understand this principle: God will let the odds be against you on purpose, he'll put you in situations where you're the underdog, everyone counts you out. You don't have the size, the training, the skill, the equipment.
If you stay focused on what you don't have, you'll talk yourself out of it. The right approach is, "Yes, the people are big. Yes, we felt like grasshoppers, but God, we know you being for us is more than the world being against us. We know, you allow us to be underestimated, so you can show your power in greater ways". When God breathes on what you have, like David and the slingshot, you will defeat enemies that are bigger, overcome obstacles that look impossible, you'll go places that you've never dreamed.
In my own life when my father died, no one expected me to step up and pastor the church. I didn't have the training, I'd never been to seminary. I was more quiet and reserved, I liked being behind the scenes. But when my father passed, I knew I was supposed to take this step of faith. And plenty of people didn't think I could do it. A major newspaper wrote an article about how the worst things that could happen was for one of the sons to take over. I overheard a couple of people talking about me after a service, "He's not as good as his father. I don't think he'll make it", but despite what they said, despite what my natural reasoning told me, somehow I believed that I had what it takes. I wasn't moved by the naysayers. I didn't let the giants intimidate me. By the grace of God he's taken me further than I ever imagined, he's brought gifts out that I didn't know I had.
That same newspaper that talked about how I wasn't qualified, a few years later wrote another article, it was on the front page, the headline was "A force to be reckoned with". I thought to myself: "Look what God can do. Take you from being underestimated, look down on, discounted, to a force to be reckoned with". Are you allowing people to talk you out of your dreams? Circumstances to convince you that you don't have what it takes? Get your fire back. You're underestimated on purpose, it's a setup. God's about to do something that you've never seen. Don't discount what you have. It may be small now, but when God breathes on it, it's going to multiply. New doors are going to open, giants are going to come down.
When we acquired this place the former Compaq Center, a company filed a lawsuit to try to keep us from moving in. It wasn't just any company, it was the largest taxpayer in Texas, a huge real estate company. It was literally David verse Goliath. They had more funds, more influence, more connections. We could say like the Israelites, "We felt like grasshoppers compared to them". They have billions of dollars of assets. But when you're underestimated, God is setting you up. It's a part of his plan. The bigger they are, the harder they're going to fall, the more he's going to get the credit.
Our attorneys told us it could be tied up in the courts for up to ten years, not to get our hopes up. But a year and a half later, without any warning, God supernaturally turned it around. They not only dropped the lawsuit, which gave us the building, they leased us nine thousand covered parking spaces, we didn't have to build a garage. What am I saying? When you're underestimated, God is up to something. As you go through life, you're going to have these times where the odds are against you, all the facts say, "There's no way it's going to happen, they're the biggest company in Texas. Goliath is nine feet tall. You don't have the funds. This sickness is permanent". It's easy to get discouraged, give up on your dreams, believe what people say. Have the right approach, "I'm underestimated on purpose. This means God is up to something, he's about to show out in a new way".
There was a young boy that had a dream of playing professional football. At nine years old he drew a picture of himself, underneath he wrote the caption, "Best safety in the NFL". The problem was, he was very small and couldn't make the team. In high school he was only five feet tall, and weighed 100 pounds. The coaches were concerned for his safety, and they kept telling him, "You're too small. You're going to get hurt. Football is not for you". He would go back again and again, wanting to play so badly. One day on the practice field the coach said to him very firmly, "Listen son, we've taken all your measurements, we've studied you, you're too small, you're never going to play professional".
The young man walked away so discouraged. That night he told his father, "The coaches took my measurements, my size, my height, my weight, they said I don't measure up, I can't play football". The father looked him in the eyes and said, "Son, did they measure your heart"? He was saying, "They don't know what's in you. They're judging by the outside, but they can't see the greatness on the inside". Years later against all odds, this young man Bo Eason went on to play professional football. His second year in the league he was voted in all pro safety, one of the best players in his position.
When you're underestimated, looked down on, discounted, that's a sign God is up to something big. People can't stop your destiny. What someone said about you, the odds being against you, that's God setting you up for something you've never seen. Now, you have to do your part like David, like Bo: keep believing, keep stretching, keep doing the right thing. You're going to see unusual doors open, divine connection, favor that catapults you into your destiny.
We see this principle even in the life of Jesus. He could have been born in a palace, born into royalty, born into wealth and influence. Instead he was born in a manger, he was wrapped in a blanket used for animals. His mother was from a low income family, she didn't have status, clout, nobody knew her. Jesus could have been raised in Rome, in a powerful city, but he grew up in Nazareth. When he started doing miracles, people were confused, they said (John 1:46), "Can anything good come out of Nazareth"? They were saying, "This doesn't make sense. Nobody's significant lives here". Another time they ask (Matthew 13:55), "Is this not the carpenter's son"? We know Jesus, nothing special about him.
Don't be offended if you're underestimated, it's all a part of God's plan. The key is: don't let those lies get on the inside. They may try to devalue, belittle, not give you the time of day - that's a test. You can get offended, upset, think, "They're right, I'm not that talented. I don't have much in the future", or you can say, "I'm underestimated and that's okay. God, you're on the throne, you're in control of my life. I'm gonna keep honoring you, and I know you will cause me to defy the odds, and go places I've never dreamed".
My father grew up very poor. His family were cotton farmers, and they lost everything during the great depression. He had to drop out of high school to help on the farm. They were the ones that received the Christmas basket that went to the poorest family. He got a job selling popcorn in a movie theater in Fort Worth. He had no future to speak of, no education, no money. But at 17 years old he gave his life to Christ, the first one in his family. God put a dream in his heart to become a minister. He believed that one day he would have a church with thousands of people, that was unheard of back in the 1930s. He told his parents he was going to go out and start ministering. They tried to discourage him, said "John, all you know how to do is work on the farm. You better stay here. You're going to get out there and fail".
They meant well, they were trying to protect him, but they underestimated him. They didn't think he could do something significant, nobody in our family had. But look at how God works. My father went on to pastor great churches, he founded Lakewood, pastored here in nearly 40 years, impacting the world. He was the least likely one: didn't have any support, he had to hitchhike leaving the farm. But God loves to take people who are underestimated. When the odds are against you, when others are telling you how it's not going to work out, God will cause you to blossom, to bloom, to accomplish what seems impossible.
God could have chosen someone more qualified than my father, someone that had all the credentials, that came from a prestigious family, that had great skill and education. Instead, he chose a popcorn salesman, he chose a young man with no religious upbringing. God loves to defy the odds. He's going to do things in your life that leave people scratching their heads. How can that happen? Can anything good come out of Fort Worth? Isn't that jack Osteen's son, aren't they just poor farmers?
You may be underestimated, it's a good thing, that's a sign God's going to do something unusual. You're underestimated on purpose. The giants are way bigger on purpose. People are discounting you on purpose. Your time is coming. God is about to show out in your life. Don't be offended, don't get distracted, keep doing the right thing. What they say doesn't determine your destiny, what they think about you doesn't limit your future, God uses underestimated people. I believe and declare: like David, you're about to defy the odds. Giants that are much bigger are coming down, gifts are going to come out of you in a greater way. What God is about to do in your life will not only amaze you, but other people will be scratching their heads, in Jesus name. And if you receive it, can you say amen today? Amen!